Officers had reasonable suspicion to conduct a protective weapons search of the car defendant came out of a motel and got into. While watching the car, before defendant was there, officers saw a juvenile hiding a gun under the floor mat. When defendant got into the car and claimed it, the officers had reasonable suspicion for a search despite his being a new arrival at the scene. United States v. Cloud, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87531 (W.D. N.C. May 25, 2018). So: Does reasonable suspicion also apply to places, not just people, like probable cause does? This case essentially says so, but it seems a little uncertain attempting to tie the defendant to the car when he wasn’t there when the gun was hidden:
Additionally, it is true that, at the time Officer Jenkins first noticed someone in the car attempting to conceal a firearm, defendant was not present. However, as the stop and investigation progressed, defendant became involved by entering the car, and it quickly became apparent to the officers that defendant was the only adult involved at the scene. The reasonable and articulable suspicion was not simply because he happened to be associated with the juvenile; the reasonable and articulable suspicion was based on claiming ownership of the car where someone was attempting to hide a gun, by virtue of being the only adult who could possibly be old enough to legally possess the gun, and other factors like the time of day and location of the incident. This combination of factors suggests that, even if a seizure protected under the Fourth Amendment had occurred, the police had a sufficient reasonable, articulable suspicion to investigate potential criminal activity on the part of defendant. As such, the court sees no reason to suppress evidence found in this matter, and will deny defendant’s motion.